11 June 2011

On the subject of Iain M. Banks, Space Opera, and the Future of Money.

I've been reading a lot of Iain M Banks novels lately. By which I mean that I read all of the Iain M Banks novels published so far over the last four or so weeks. I love them. I've read Consider Phlebas, Player of Games and The Use of Weapons twice each, and listened to the audiobook of each of them as well, while driving into Bunbury. The more recent versions of the audiobook are better than the older ones, in my opinion.  Peter Kenny is a fantastic narrator, who has the good sense to not do the stupid atonal robot voice for spacecraft and drones.

I've also read the short story collection State of The Art a couple of times. It has a bunch of really fun short shorts, and a massively exciting novella to finish up. I've only read the other books once each so far, but I've restarted on Surface Detail, the 2010 released Culture novel that is the favourite so far.

I've read these books almost exclusively since discovering them. Why? Because the books are basically about a universe in which my political views won. It's my dream universe, where noone goes without, where noone has the right to prevent any action by any individual if it doesn't cause harm to others, where illness is nonexistant, where cross cultural cooperation is the NORMAL STATE OF THINGS!

Oh my, it's enticing. It's the novelisation of the problems involved with being the society that in my view would be as close to perfect as it is to come. Because problems will always arise, and morality is fraught with conundrums and contradictions.

But the thing that appeals to me most is the abolition of money. The first novel in the Culture series has a line that basically says that money is a symptom of poverty, or in other words that money is only necessary because of scarcity. I want to live in the post scarcity world, because that is when true human potential has a shot at being reached. Until then, the greedy will rule us all, and we will forever loose against greed if there are more people than resources.

The future of money is that there is no money. And oh how I long for a Space Opera future.

The End.